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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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March 3, 1997

South China Morning Post - March 3, 1997

Agencies in Jakarta – Indonesia's armed forces chief has lent the military's backing to the ruling Golkar party, breaking decades of traditional neutrality.

General Feisal Tanjung, speaking in Jakarta in the lead up to the May 29 general elections, said "the big ABRI [armed forces] family" channels its "political aspirations" to Golkar.

March 2, 1997

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – The manner in which the nuclear-power Bill was rushed through Parliament raised doubts about the government's real intentions, analysts were quoted as saying in a newspaper report on Friday.

East Timor Action Network - March 2, 1997

On January 21, 1997, ETAN issued an Action Alert regarding the likely nomination of Stanley Roth as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which had been floated in the Washington Post and other newspapers.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – Home Affairs Minister Yogie Memed said Indonesia's six million civil servants had no choice but to vote for the ruling Golkar as they were bound by statutes which said that members had to channel their political aspirations through the party.

Straits Times - March 2, 1997

Susan Sim, Jakarta – President Suharto, offering to resign if it was the will of the people, has vowed to "clobber" anyone who tries to force him out of office by unconstitutional means.

Kompas - March 2, 1997

Jakarta – Armed Forces Commander, Gen. Feisal Tanjung, stressed that in the coming period the Armed Forces will take a firmer stand. The Armed forces will compromise with nobody and will not take the slightest risk concerning any effort which wants to disturb national stability and integration of the nation.

The Washington Post - March 2, 1997

Matthew Jardine – "Hello, Mister. Where are you from?"

March 1, 1997

Amnesty International - March 1997

In another stark illustration of the Indonesian Government's intention to silence its opponents in the run up to the May 1997 parliamentary elections, the controversial former parliamentarian, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, was detained on 5 March under the Anti-subversion Law.

Digest Number 29 - March, 1997

Analysists who prefer to highlight structural interests often find the personalised nature of Indonesian politics difficult to grasp. Yet personal loyalties define the language of intra-elite conflict today as much as they did in the days of the sultans. A document marked 'highly secret', apparently produced at the think tank CPDS and circulating in Jakarta proves the point.

Asia Week - March 1997

Yenni Kwok, Jakarta – Most Indonesian children grow up listening to stories about Kancil, a clever, mischievous mouse-deer who typically finds himself relying on his wits in order to save his life. His adventures often offer moral lessons for the young.

Agence France Presse - March 1, 1997

Jakarta – In a rare political statement the country's Catholic Church has told its faithful that it would not be a sin to refuse to vote in this year's general election.

But a senior Indonesian military officer warned on Monday that encouraging people not to vote was against the law.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Jakarta - A number of pro-Megawati Soekarnoputri PDI cadres, calling themselves "Awam PDI" (PDI Laymen) will arrange a longmarch from Denpasar to Jakarta starting 1 April 1997.

Upon arrival in Jakarta they will go to the Parliament Building (MPR/DPR) to deliver a written statement to the House of Representatives (DPR) as holder of the people's sovereignty.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions - March 1997

[The following is the text of a letter sent by Bill Jordan, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to the Indonesian Minister of Justice.]

Dear Mr Minister,

Down to Earth Update - March 1997

Since Down to Earth posted an Action Alert on the confrontation between the indigenous Dayaks and Madurese settlers in West Kalimantan (17th Feb 1997), we have been waiting for more news and accurate information from Jakarta and Pontianak. What follows is a summary of the news items which have appeared on apc.act. indonesia, apc.reg.

Agence France Presse - March 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have banned a book by an elderly politician, saying the contents discredited the government, the armed forces and President Suharto, a newspaper report said on Thursday.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Jakarta – The chair of the United Develop Party (PPP), Ismail Hasan Matareum has said that the National Leadership meeting of the PPP has placed on the agenda, recommendations from a number of Regional Councils of the PPP (DPW) a plan to boycott the coming 1997 General Election campaign.

Asia Week - March 1, 1997

Cesar Bacani and Keith Loveard/Jakarta – Just call him King. If ever there were doubts about his preeminent position in Indonesian business, timber tycoon Mohamad Bob Hasan laid them to rest last week.

Asia Week - March 1, 1997

Three years after discovering what is touted as the worlds richest gold lode in Indonesias Kalimantan province, Canadas Bre-X Minerals may have finally hit the jackpot. It reached an agreement for a development venture with the Indonesian government and other partners last week.

Kompas - March 1, 1997

Solo – President Soeharto brought forward, "If the House of Representatives (DPR) indeed considers that I am incompetent, yes, please "withdraw" me, namely through an Extraordinary Session of the Peoples Consultative Congress (MPR)."

February 28, 1997

Tapol - February 28, 1997

The following is the text of a letter sent by Bill Jordan, General [Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, to the Indonesian Minister of Justice.]

Dear Mr Minister,

Urgent: Health conditons of MM. Pakpahan and Hariyanto

Kabar Dari Pijar - February 28, 1997

We strongly demand that the House of Representatives of Indonesia will not approve the nuclear bill!

Kompas - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – One of the architects of the New Order economy, Prof Dr Soebroto, explicitly stated that the flourishing of various kinds of levies [read bribes - JB] which has been going on, is a reflection of absence of legal security.

Antara - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian Ecolabelling Institute (LEI) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) have signed acooperation to speed up the implementation of ecolabelling toIndonesian tropical timber products, LEI chairman Emil Salim saidWednesday.

One of the chief aims of the cooperation is to train assessors, he said.

Media Indonesia - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – The accused in the subversion case against the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) who are interned at the Cipinang prison, began a hunger strike last Wednesday (26/2) because they consider their trials are engineered.

SiaR - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja was called in for questioning last week by Bakorstanas [Badan Koordinasi Bantuan Pemantapan Stabilitas, National Coordinating body for the maintenance of Stability] over the pre-Easter apostolic letter by the Indonesian Bishops' Conference.

Agence France Presse - February 28, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Muslim-led United Development Party (PPP) is considering a boycott of the upcoming campaign for 29 May elections in response to tough restrictions on political campaigning.

February 27, 1997

Kompas - February 27, 1997

The socio-political (sospol) role of the Armed Forces (ABRI) will not be a "flat tyre", even at President Soeharto's post leadership. ABRI's role will not change much because ABRI in its history of existence until this moment is performing its role as unifier of the nation.

Antara - February 27, 1997

Bandung, W Java – Four former policemen charged with inciting the recent riot in Tasikmalaya, West Java are facing up to 32 months in jail.

Military prosecutor, Col Ismail Bangun, demanded here Tuesday that the West Java military court imprison former Corporal Nur (38) for 32 months and former 2nd Sgt AM (24) for 30 months.

Straits Times - February 27, 1997

S N Vasuki – The fallout from the Busang gold controversy in Indonesia has been immediate. Foreign mining companies, primarily from Australia and Canada, which are awaiting official approval for new mining projects in Indonesia are concerned that the controversy would lead to major delays and changes in the government's policy towards foreign investment in the mining sector.

Kompas - February 27, 1997

Jakarta – The Bill on Nuclear Power was finally agreed by the House of Representatives (DPR) for ratification as Laws, although it was coloured by interruptions of its members who questioned the quorum which was not reached, while outside the conference room a demonstration was going on which rejected the Nuclear Power Bill.

Jakarta Post Editorial - February 27, 1997

Objections from environmentalists and other concerned groups notwithstanding, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a government-sponsored bill on nuclear energy which levels the way for the government to build Indonesia's first nuclear power plant on the Muria peninsula on the north coast of Central Java by the year 2003.

News from Pijar - February 27, 1997

PDI fraction member Laksmiari Priyonggo interrupted the Minister of Research and Technology BJ Habibie during constitutional meeting at the National Parliament saying: "Although the speaker states that 317 people are present, in fact there are only 75 members of the DPR here or less than 15% of a total of 500 members. We cannot lie to the people".

Tapol - February 27, 1997

There is growing concern for the health of two men currently on trial for subversion. Both are detained in Cipinang Prison in Jakarta and have not been allowed to obtained medical treatment since being transferred there earlier this year. They were arrested after the raid on the PDI office in Jakarta on 27 July 1996. They have both been on trial since December 1996.

ABC - February 27, 1997

The Indonesian military has accused Muslim separatists in Aceh province of attempting to sabotage the huge nearby Arun gas field.

The security commander of northern Sumatra including Aceh, Major-General Sedaryanto, says the sabotage had been planned for a long time, but did NOT say what the plan entailed.

Far Eastern Economic Review - February 27, 1997

Margot Cohen, Jakarta – The judge hunched forward eagerly as details of a bank statement were read aloud in open court. "What is the total amount of overseas aid?" he prodded the witness.

Wall Street Journal - February 27, 1997

Richard Borsuk, Jakarta, Indonesia – The chairman of Bre-X Minerals Ltd., facing shareholder ire over last week's pact fixing ownership of the Canadian firm's giant gold find in Borneo, said he had to settle for an arrangement that reflected Indonesia's "political, economic and social environment."

American Reporter - February 27, 1997

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – It was a bright and sunny day in Jakarta, but that didn't help cheer up American diplomats William Brown and Stanley Roth as they emerged from a critical meeting with President Suharto.

Kompas - February 27, 1997

Jakarta – The Commander General of Special Troop Commandoes (Danjen Kopassus) Major General Prabowo Subianto stated that all strata of the society at the country should increase vigilance towards a group which intentionally wants to create instability. This group tries to create riots because it has its own political interests.

Far Eastern Economic Review - February 27, 1997

Jay Solomon, Jakarta – Tommy Suharto's car project may be hitting the skids, but ironically it's been a boon to Indonesia's auto industry.

Media Indonesia - February 27, 1997

Jakarta – The Constitutional Meeting at the National Parliament (DPR), intending to pass in to law draft laws on nuclear power yesterday and was attended by 75 people, was coloured interruptions and a "walk out" by PDI (Indonesian Democratic Party) fraction member Laksmiari Priyonggo along with anti-nuclear demonstrators.

Sydney Morning Herald - February 27, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Indonesian Parliament has passed a controversial nuclear energy bill, clearing the way for the construction of up to 12 nuclear power plants.

The first nuclear reactor is due to be built alongside the dormant Muria volcano in Java.

Associated Press - February 27, 1997

Marcy Gordon, Washington – In its first action in a decade under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday a settlement with a Texas-based oil company for a $300,000 civil penalty.

February 26, 1997

Kompas - February 26, 1997

Vice President Try Sutrisno said that the majority of various recent riot actions, which were carried out by using the potential of the youth towards negative and destructive actions, should be responded to by introspection regarding the guidance and development of the potential of the youth in its entirety.

ASIET - February 26, 1997

James Balowski – According to a chronology sent to ASIET by the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD), four students, Yudha, Irwan, Ikra and Indah are believed missing following a raid by security forces on a boarding house in Bandung, West Java, on February 26.

South China Morning Post - February 26, 1997

Joe Leahy, Jakarta – One of the country's top Muslim leaders has been ejected from the influential Suharto-backed Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals because of his outspokenness, analysts said.

Agence France Presse - February 26, 1997

Jakarta – A top Indonesian military officer has warned that encouraging people not to vote was against the law, following a recent statement by the Catholic Church which told its followers it was not a sin to refuse to vote in this year's general election.

Kompas - February 26, 1997

Minister of Justice Oetojo Oesman and People's Republic of China's Deputy Minister of Justice Xiao Jianzhang met in Jakarta on Tuesday (25/2). In that meeting, legal cooperation was discussed as well as the possibility of a renewed fathoming of an extradition agreement, and the problem of illegal immigrants.

Suara Merdeka - February 26, 1997

Malang – Of 1,000 respondents, 92.4% answered that they would abstain from voting [golput, golongan putih/white movement] in the coming general election in a pole conducted in Malang since be beginning of January.

Agence France Presse - February 26, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces (Abri) should reduce its non-defence roles and concentrate more on their defence duties to allow democracy to flourish, members of the state-run Indonesian Institute of Science were quoted as saying yesterday.

Kompas - February 26, 1997

The Indonesian Antinuclear Society (MAI) appealed to the House of Representative's to abrogate enactment of the Bill on Nuclear Power, which according to plan should take place today, Wednesday (26/2). Because the Bill which was discussed and passed hastily, still contains many weaknesses and could become legitimization to construct a nuclear power plant without referendum.